Great Salt Plains Health donates needle disposal containers to EPD

Representatives from GSP Health, EPD and Garfield County Alcohol and Drug Coalition met at Great Salt Plains Health Center, 231 S. 30th, Thursday afternoon to present EPD officers with enough needle disposal containers to supply each of the department's patrol vehicles. (Photo provided)

ENID, Okla. — A donation from Great Salt Plains Health Center will enable Enid Police Department officers to safely dispose of any needles they encounter while on patrol.

Representatives from GSP Health, EPD and Garfield County Alcohol and Drug Coalition met at Great Salt Plains Health Center, 231 S. 30th, Thursday afternoon to present EPD officers with enough needle disposal containers to supply each of the department's patrol vehicles.

Jay Sharp, Garfield County Alcohol and Drug Coalition member, said discarded needles are a common hazard for patrol officers, and the general public.

“With there not being many options for people to safely dispose of their needles, medical or otherwise, they are found discarded around town in very dangerous places, including parks and around our public swimming pool,” Sharp said. “This proves hazardous to those who work, play, and pray in our community.”

Enid police officers now will be able to safely dispose of those needles in the containers provided by GSP Health, according to a press release. When full, the containers are disposed of following biohazard guidelines.

“When this need was brought to our attention, GSP Health wanted to help keep our police officers safe as well as help create a safer community by providing a proper way to dispose of hazardous sharps,” said GSP Health Chief Executive Officer Tim Starkey. “GSP Health is proud to provide quality health care to everyone in the Enid region and we are happy to partner with our community of Enid to meet this need.”

In September, the Alcohol and Drug Coalition, GSP Health, the Austin Box 12 Foundation and the city of Enid partnered to host the first-ever citywide needle take-back event. Community members were encouraged to bring their needles to the event venue for safe, discreet, no-questions-asked disposal.

"The overwhelming success of the event will be continued as part of the Picnic for Progress, a free community-wide, medication safe disposal event held each year in May," according to a press release.

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Neal is health, military affairs and religion reporter and columnist for the Enid News & Eagle. Follow him on Twitter, @jamesnealwriter, and online at jamesrneal.com.
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